New Toy Law May Hurt Small Toy Companies

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toy-laws-2009In the last year, Congress has passed a new law concerning toy safety. After the recall of 45 million toys imported from China, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was passed in August 2008. when it goes into effect in February 2010, extensive testing will need to be done by all toy companies, big and small, to ensure that their products are 100% safe.

The law is being put into effect because many large toy companies use lead in their products. Lead can be harmful if accidentally ingested by children. Since so many large toy companies use lead in their products, these tests will be very beneficial. And even though the law is not yet in effect, some companies have already begun the testing. Sure, it might take a little more time for new products to be released, but that’s a small price to pay for the safety of the children.

Of course, it is important to look at both sides of the story. As stated, the new law will require all toy companies to adhere to the testing, including the small, independently-owned ones. For those like William John Woods of Ogunquit, Maine, the new law could deal a devastating blow.

Woods handcrafts each and every single toy he makes in his little shop. In the 35 years that he has been in the business, he claims that no child has ever been hurt by one of his products. That’s not to say that he should not be subject to the testing, but for someone who has always used safe materials to build his toys, it leaves him and other small toy company owners wondering why they were included in the law.

The large toy companies have their own laboratories in which they can test their toys. However, independent shops such as Woods’ will have to hire a third party to test the toys, costing them a great deal of money. If enough money is lost, it is possible that they won’t be able to continue making toys.

Since the law passed, many small toy company owners have banded together, writing letters to Congress hoping to be excluded from the law since they use benign resources. There’s no telling whether or not their efforts will be in vain, but they believe they must try, as it could be the end of many small businesses.

At the same time, though, it is important for parents to be completely sure that the toys they buy for their children are safe. As to which one is more important – well, I guess that’s up to Congress to decide.

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